Book Review: None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

None Shall Sleep

Author: Ellie Marney

Publication Date: 01 September 2020

Genre: YA Thriller

Pages: 400

Publisher: The NOVL (Little Brown for Young Readers)

The Silence of the Lambs meets Sadie in this riveting psychological thriller about two teenagers teaming up with the FBI to track down juvenile serial killers.

In 1982, two teenagers—serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell—are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can’t crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case—a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers—things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country’s most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson. Despite Travis’s objections, Emma becomes the conduit between Simon and the FBI team. But while Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he’s an expert manipulator playing a very long game…and he has his sights set on Emma.

Captivating, harrowing, and chilling, None Shall Sleep is an all-too-timely exploration of not only the monsters that live among us, but also the monsters that live inside us.

I am a sucker for book comparisons. I know this is a double edged sword since more often than not, they let you down, but they still pique my interest nonetheless. In this case, None Shall Sleep was marketed as Sadie meets The Silence of the Lambs. And that’s just not entirely accurate. Rather, I think a better comparison is Final Girls meets Mindhunter…and I was definitely here for it!

It’s 1982, and the FBI has just launched their Behavioral Science; a new division that is dedicated to studying serial killers and their victims. Teenagers Emma Lewis and Travis Bell (think 19 not 16) are recruited to interview convicted juvenile killers in order to get information on cold cases…an alternative tactic since these juvenile killers have no interest in talking to the seasoned agents.

After Emma and Travis prove how valuable they are to the FBI, they are called in to help on an active case…and that’s when sh*t hits the fan.

When it comes to YA thrillers, I tend to be a little apprehensive because it doesn’t always seem realistic to think of young people being inserted into investigations, but this is NOT like that at all. Here, it is completely logical as to why young people are needed in order to get any insight into these cases.

I loved both Emma’s and Travis’ characters. They both are targeted by the FBI for the horrors that they have both endured in their lives thanks to serial killers. Emma and Travis have a natural cadence to their partnership which makes them a dynamic duo in this book. I love that the author kept this partnership and friendship platonic versus trying to force a romance.

The interviews that took place between Emma and Simon, the convicted juvenile serial killer were riveting. There’s definitely a cat/mouse type of dance that is at play that the author executes really well.

The plot itself is propulsive, and I found myself flying through this story. The author does not hold back on gore and graphic details, so definitely keep that in mind if you’re squeamish. This book is gritty and really dives deep into the psyche of sociopaths and serial killers. And what an ending!

Definitely a great read!

Thank you to The NOVL for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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